Two Months without Pay Pushes Food and Retail Workers to Spend 40% of their Annual Income on Rent

American renters who work in food and retail industries can find themselves spending 40% of their annual income on housing costs if they are unable to work for two months — up about six percentage points from their current rent burden.
As local governments limit or close businesses to stop the spread of the coronavirus, different measures have been proposed to alleviate the financial hardships facing employees. Zillow analyzed how a short-term loss of income could affect renters\’ finances, and what effect these proposals could have on housing affordability for workers in some hard-hit industries if they are out of work for two months.
Single earners working in food or retail could expect to spend a median of 33.6% of their income on rent. Missing just two weeks\’ worth of paychecks would raise that to 35% of their annual income. And if they are out of work for two months, they could spend 40% of their income on housing, absent any other source of money. According to previous Zillow research, only 51% of renters say they can afford an unexpected $1,000 expense, and most renters (66%) already make at least one sacrifice to afford their rent1. The first sacrifice renters make is cutting back on entertainment, followed by picking up additional work — which may not be an option right now.
As the economic impact of shutting down or severely limiting the operations of restaurants, retail shops and other businesses grows, plans to address the gap in income have been proposed, including a one-time payment of $1,200 per single adult and $500 per qualified child. A one-time payment similar to this legislation would ease some of the financial strain on renters who are out of work for two months, lowering the share of annual income needed to cover the year\’s rent from 40% to 35.8%.
Two months with no income would push food and retail workers to spend more than half of their annual income on rent in San Diego, San Jose, Calif., Denver, Miami, Los Angeles, Riverside, Calif. and Sacramento. A one-time payment would keep their rent burden under 50% in each of these markets except San Jose.
In Las Vegas, 37% of the local employee base works in food or retail, the highest share of any market in this analysis. Rent typically takes up 34.2% of their annual household income — if they missed two months of work, that would jump to 40.7% absent any other money. A one-time payment of $1,200 for each adult and $500 for each child would put their median rent burden at 35.7% of their annual income.
\”We\’re still in the early stages of understanding exactly what effects the coronavirus will have on the housing market in the long term, but many workers and families are living through an immediate strain as their jobs are cut back and paychecks dry up,\” said Zillow Senior Policy Advisor Alexander Casey. \”Renters across the country, and in the service industries especially, are already often stretching their budgets. They are likely to see their rent burden increase if paychecks disappear, which also means they\’ll have less funds left after paying housing costs for other essentials, which can quickly become devastating. But without drastic measures now to slow the spread of this disease, we risk it worsening, further delaying the economy\’s return to business as usual and resuming the livelihoods for these workers.\”
Metro Annual
Spent on
Rent Annual
Spent on
Rent – Two
Months with
No Pay Annual Income
Spent on Rent –
Two Months with
No Pay + One-Time
Payment of $1,200
per Adult and $500
per Child Share of Workers
in Food/Retail
United States 33.6% 40.0% 35.8% 20.1%
New York, NY 40.0% 47.6% 41.0% 18.0%
Los Angeles, CA 44.8% 53.3% 45.5% 21.0%
Chicago, IL 33.5% 39.9% 34.4% 18.7%
Dallas, TX 34.3% 40.8% 35.1% 20.2%
Philadelphia, PA 38.9% 46.3% 38.5% 18.2%
Houston, TX 38.9% 46.3% 39.1% 19.3%
Washington, DC 41.3% 49.1% 42.6% 16.1%
Miami, FL 44.8% 53.5% 46.1% 22.8%
Atlanta, GA 34.9% 41.6% 35.8% 19.7%
Boston, MA 35.8% 42.6% 38.4% 17.9%
San Francisco, CA 41.5% 49.4% 43.7% 17.5%
Detroit, MI 32.6% 38.9% 32.1% 19.4%
Riverside, CA 44.1% 52.7% 43.5% 22.4%
Phoenix, AZ 31.6% 37.5% 31.6% 21.2%
Seattle, WA 36.1% 43.0% 39.4% 19.0%
Minneapolis, MN 35.8% 42.6% 36.2% 19.0%
San Diego, CA 46.6% 55.4% 48.6% 21.5%
Saint Louis, MO 30.8% 36.7% 31.9% 19.9%
Tampa, FL 36.5% 43.5% 37.2% 22.0%
Baltimore, MD 36.4% 43.3% 37.4% 17.2%
Denver, CO 45.8% 54.5% 46.9% 19.5%
Pittsburgh, PA 24.7% 29.4% 25.6% 19.8%
Portland, OR 38.8% 46.2% 39.0% 18.9%
Charlotte, NC 30.5% 36.2% 32.4% 20.4%
Sacramento, CA 43.3% 51.6% 42.8% 20.7%
San Antonio, TX 33.6% 40.0% 34.0% 22.8%
Orlando, FL 39.6% 47.1% 41.3% 27.3%
Cincinnati, OH 32.0% 38.1% 32.1% 19.4%
Cleveland, OH 27.0% 32.1% 28.8% 19.7%
Kansas City, MO 28.6% 34.0% 30.3% 18.7%
Las Vegas, NV 34.2% 40.7% 35.7% 37.0%
Columbus, OH 29.5% 35.2% 30.8% 20.3%
Indianapolis, IN 36.0% 42.9% 35.0% 19.9%
San Jose, CA 46.4% 55.3% 52.0% 14.6%
Austin, TX 35.6% 42.4% 36.7% 19.1%
Zillow Research
Zillow® is transforming how people buy, sell, rent and finance homes by creating seamless real estate transactions for today\’s on-demand consumer. Zillow is the leading real estate and rental marketplace and a trusted source for data, inspiration and knowledge among both consumers and real estate professionals.
In addition, Zillow operates an industry-leading economics and analytics bureau led by Zillow Group\’s Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. Dr. Gudell and her team of economists, data analysts, applied scientists and engineers produce extensive housing data and research covering more than 450 markets at Zillow Real Estate Research. Zillow also sponsors the quarterly Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey, which asks more than 100 leading economists, real estate experts and investment and market strategists to predict the path of the Zillow Home Value Index over the next five years. Launched in 2006, Zillow is owned and operated by Zillow Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:Z and ZG), and headquartered in Seattle.

Bertram Capital Portfolio Company Registrar Corp Announces Acquisition of Online Food Safety Training Company
Registrar Corp, a leading provider of U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) compliance services, announced its acquisition of Vinca, LLC ( Vinca has provided online training for food safety management systems since 2001. Over 10,000 global users have utilized their 100% online courses, which cover topics including ISO 22000, FSSC 22000, SQF, ISO 9001, GFSI, FSMA, and more. Registrar is a portfolio company of Bertram Capital (\”Bertram\”). Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
\”We have heard from our clients that they want additional online training opportunities,\” said Registrar Corp President David Lennarz. \”With the global coronavirus pandemic causing in-person education to be cancelled, we are particularly excited to add Vinca\’s training courses to our suite of FDA compliance solutions.\”
Lennarz said that users will be able to access Vinca\’s library of online courses via MyFDA, Registrar Corp\’s online compliance management system. Currently, food facilities can use their MyFDA account to manage their FDA registration, submit Prior Notice filings, and monitor their FDA compliance status. \”MyFDA was built to be a one-stop shop for our clients to manage their FDA compliance needs,\” Lennarz continued. \”Encompassing the online training is the next logical step toward that goal.\”
\”We continue to invest in our businesses during these challenging times to ensure we are positioned for success moving forward,\” said Tom Beerle, Partner at Bertram. \”Complementing our robust product offering with online training capabilities has been a strategic priority for Registrar since we first invested in the company. Food safety remains a critical focus globally and Vinca\’s high quality curriculum enables food professionals to gain access to training when convenient for them without the added cost or burden of travel.\”
Vinca Co-Presidents Cynthia Weber and Betsy Hsiao will stay on as part of the Registrar Corp team and continue to develop new coursework. \”Registrar Corp has the global scale and expertise to take Vinca\’s offerings to the next level,\” Weber said. \”I am excited to focus fully on content creation, in addition to launching our outstanding courses into multiple languages.\”
Weber brings a wealth of additional experience to the Registrar Corp workforce. She is a certified ISO 22000 and FSSC 22000 Lead Assessor and has performed certification audits nationwide. She is also a registered SQF trainer and consultant, an EQIPT qualified packaging auditor, and a Lead Instructor for the FSMA Preventive Controls courses for human and animal food. \”We are pleased to welcome Cynthia and Betsy to the team,\” Lennarz said. \”In addition to expanding on the online coursework offerings, we have discussed utilizing Cynthia\’s Lead Instructor role to offer live PCQI certification courses.\”
Vinca marks Registrar Corp\’s second acquisition of 2020, and sixth overall. \”We continue to seek opportunities to meet our client\’s compliance needs,\” Lennarz said. \”Not only in the food industry, but in the drug and device sectors as well.\”
About Registrar Corp
Registrar Corp was founded in 2003 to help businesses comply with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations. Since opening its headquarters in Hampton, Virginia, USA, Registrar Corp has expanded to 20 worldwide offices and has aided more than 30,000 companies across 160 countries. Employees include former U.S. FDA officials, scientists, and industry experts.
About Bertram Capital
Bertram Capital is a private equity firm targeting investments in lower middle market companies. Since its inception in 2006, the firm has raised funds in excess of $1.4B in capital commitments. In addition to supplying strategic growth capital, Bertram Capital leverages proprietary processes and services, Bertram High-5SM and Bertram Labs, to empower its portfolio companies to unlock their full business potential. The Bertram High-5SM is an operationally-focused value creation strategy, which includes management augmentation, operational initiative implementation, complementary business acquisition, sales and marketing improvements, and leveraging technology and IP. The cornerstone of this strategy is Bertram Labs, its in-house technology team, which drives growth and value through digital marketing, e-commerce, big data and analytics, application development, and internal and external platform optimization.